September 2, 1936
BACK TO THE OLD HOME TOWN
Former Holmﬁrth Millhand’s Success in New Zealand
Forty-eight years ago a Holmﬁrth young millhands yearning for adventure caused him to leave his humble home, bid goodbye to his family and friends, and sail for Australia. Now the same man, 70 years of age and the head of a successful bookseller’s business in Hastings, New Zealand, has returned to Holmﬁrth to visit the scenes of his early life. He is Mr Foster Brook. JP, and sitting in a snug little room at the Holmfirth Hotel where he is staying, he told a ‘Yorkshire Evening Post’ representative of some of the incidents in his romantic career.
Although he is the son of a Holmfirth, Mr Brook was born at Batley Carr. When he was a child the family moved back to Holmfirth, and at the age of seven he began work as a half-timer at Green Lane Mill where his wages were two shillings a week. Mr Brook worked in several textile factories in Australia, saving every penny he could. When he had made sufﬁcient money he started a bookseller’s business in Sydney, and then sold it at a substantial profit. Since then he has owned similar businesses in various parts of Australia and New Zealand, and all have been successful. The only stroke of ill luck Mr Brook has had in the whole of his business career was the earth quake which did considerable damage in Hastings and Napier districts of New Zealand on February 3rd, 1931. Mr Brook lost six brick built shops with dwellings attached, valued at £ 6000.00 Not until last summer was Mr Brook prevented by illness from missing his work for a single day.
Mr Brook has not bought [brought] his wife, a Dewsbury woman, to England, because he thought travel would fatigue her, but he has spoken to her over the telephone from Dinnington, near Sheffield. He also chatted over the phone to other members of his family, including his Grandson, aged eight and all the voices he says, were perfectly clear although the speakers were over 13,000 miles away. For a period Mr Brook was president of The Society of Yorkshiremen in Hastings, and he rather deplores the absence of anyone in that town who is able to make Yorkshire puddings that are fit to eat.